Adobe Flash Comes to TV

Adobe, the California-based software giant, is attempting to bring their Flash Web animation software to television. On Monday, Adobe announced that the latest version of Flash will be viewable on Digital TVs connected to the Internet, newer Blu-ray players, and several other home devices.

The company has partnered with a handful of the most powerful names in media, both online and off, to roll out the new “Flash TV” format. Everyone from the New York Times to Atlantic Records and Intel will be involved in rolling out the new format.

adobeUntil this latest version was released, Adobe’s ubiquitous Flash software had primarily been used on computers to render animation and video. For example, Google’s YouTube uses a variation of the standard Flash video player, as does Google video, and many other online media sites.

In fact, Flash has come to be the de facto standard in rendering Web video, animation or any hybrid of the two. Surveys show that more than 80% of all video streamed online uses some variation of the Adobe Flash software. But if Adobe has their way, Flash may soon become the de facto standard in the interactive TV arena, as well.

Though it’s unclear at the moment exactly how Flash will be integrated into Internet enabled digital television, the Company believes there is a huge market the software’s animation and video rendering algorithms. Adobe has already ported over a version of Flash for use in mobile smartphones with mostly positive results.

One clear advantage of using the Flash format with HDTV is that consumers could effortlessly switch between watching “standard” television, and web-enabled video (such as YouTube or Hulu) in the blink of an eye. Using Flash on televisions would also enable the creation of widgets especially engineered to bring Web applications to television and other portable communications devices.

But so far the exact plan for how to use Flash in an interactive TV setting is unclear. Adobe is playing their cards pretty close to the chest, and none of their partner companies have said much about potential usage, except that they expect Flash to open up a whole new world of interactivity to television viewers.

If it is handled correctly, Adobe could use Flash to finally bridge the gap between television and the Web, and give users the ability to seamlessly switch between the two. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, and to see if Flash can become as ubiquitous on television as it already is on online.

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